For the second time in his career, midfielder Atiba Hutchinson has been named as the Canadian Soccer Association’s male player of the year.
Hutchinson, who plays his club soccer with Dutch giants and current Eredivisie leaders PSV Eindhoven, endured a difficult 2011, when nagging knee injuries kept him on the sideline for long stretches. He rebounded in 2012 to put in 43 appearances for PSV as well as play a crucial part in the Canadian midfield.
“I’m very happy for this achievement to happen,” Hutchinson, who also won the honor in 2010, said in a conference call with media on Wednesday. "I didn’t expect it. The last couple of months have been going really well for me. I’ve had pretty good form after a slow start obviously after my injury and coming back from that took some time before feeling good.”
After missing Hutchinson for most of the CONCACAF Gold Cup and early World Cup qualifiers in 2011, Canada’s lineup was noticeably better when the Brampton, Ontario, native returned to the pitch. Perhaps his most notable moment came when Hutchinson supplied a cross to Dwayne De Rosario in September in a World Cup qualifier that gave Canada a 1-0 victory over Panama at BMO Field.
Despite helping Canada to an improved performance in qualifying, Hutchinson and Canada failed to qualify for the Hexagonal after bombing out in October with a horrific 8-1 defeat in Honduras.
With Canada out of qualifying until the 2018 World Cup cycle, the 29-year old Hutchinson affirms that he still plans on being part of the national team setup, provided he remains healthy and playing.
“I’d like to believe that I’m still young enough to keep pushing for it and we’ll see how my body reacts over the next couple of years,” he said. “I would like to be involved if I’m called upon to give it another shot in the next three or four years.”
Hutchinson’s contract is set to expire at the end of the current season. And when asked about the prospect of coming back to North America, Hutchinson admitted that one day he may want to return home — but for now he’s happy with continuing his career in Europe and revealed that playing in England would be a “dream.”